Boing Boing

Boing Boing

"Boing Boing" (originally bOING bOING) is a publishing entity, first established as a magazine, later becoming a group blog.


Boing Boing started as a zine in 1988 by Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair. Issues were subtitled "The World's Greatest Neurozine". Associate editors included Gareth Branwyn, Jon Lebkowsky, and Paco Nathan. Along with Mondo 2000, Boing Boing was an influence in the development of the cyberpunk subculture. Common themes include technology, futurism, science fiction, gadgets, intellectual property, Disney and politics. The last issue of the zine was #15.

Boing Boing became a Web site in 1995 and later relaunched as a weblog on January 21, 2000, described as a "directory of wonderful things." Over time, Mark Frauenfelder was joined by three co-editors: Cory Doctorow, David Pescovitz, and Xeni Jardin. All four Boing Boing contributors are, or have been, contributing writers for "Wired" magazine.

In September 2003, Boing Boing removed their Quicktopics user-comment feature without warning or explanation. Bloggers commenting on the change at the time speculated that it stemmed from "identity impersonators and idiot flamers" pretending to be co-editors.Carnell, Brian (September 18, 2003). [ To Offer Discussion Groups Or Not.]] Xeni Jardin was also a guest on the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" to discuss the "Washington Post"'s decision to remove their comments section, and spoke from her experience at Boing Boing.Lehrer, Jim (January 24, 2006). [ Post Web Site Silences Public Comments After a Flood of Complaints.] "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"] In August 2007, a redesigned site was launched, which included a restored comment facility, moderated by Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

In 2004, the project incorporated as Happy Mutants LLC, and John Battelle became the blog's business manager.Staff report (May 26, 2006). [ Who owns Web 2.0?] ""] Boing Boing has twice won the Bloggies for 'Weblog of the Year', in 2004 and 2005.

The site added advertising over the course of late 2004, placed above and to the left and right of material, and, in 2005, in the site's RSS feed as well. Editor Cory Doctorow noted that "John [Battelle] said it's going to be harder to make a little money to pay your bandwidth bills than it will be to make a lot of money and have a real source of income from this."Creamer, Matthew (October 10, 2006). [ Advertising Age, The Innovators: John Battelle.] "AdAge"] Boing Boing is a prominent member of the blog network Federated Media Publishing Inc.

Boing Boing used to feature a "guest blogger" sidebar, but stopped the series in summer 2004. Guests included John Shirley, Karen Marcelo of Survival Research Laboratories, Johannes Grenzfurthner of monochrom, Rudy Rucker, Gareth Branwyn, Wiley Wiggins, Jason Scott of and journalists Danny O'Brien and Quinn Norton.

In September 2006, Boing Boing introduced a weekly podcast, Boing Boing Boing, intended to cover the week's posts and upcoming projects. The show's cast consists of the Boing Boing editors accompanied by a weekly guest. In the same month, Boing Boing introduced a second podcast called Get Illuminated, which features interviews with writers, artists, and other creatives.

The site's own original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license, as of August 2008. [ Accessed 21 August 2008]

Unicorn chaser

A "unicorn chaser" is a concept created by Boing Boing editors as an antidote to blog postings linking to sites containing disgusting or shocking images. The antidote contains a picture of a unicorn and was launched first in August 2003 as a reply to a picture of a rash that editor Mark Frauenfelder posted in an attempt to get readers to diagnose it for him. The text posted with the image came with the title "And now, we pause for a Unicorn Moment." It was used as an antidote for pictures of a brain tumor, a man who pumped up the skin of his face with saline solution, many different ways to clean your earwax and a lengthy discussion of the internet video "2 Girls 1 Cup".

On May 18, 2007, Boing Boing announced that Virgin America, as part of its "Name Our Planes!" campaign, would be naming one of its new aircraft "Unicorn Chaser," after having asked Boing Boing to suggest a name.Jardin, Xeni (May 18, 2007). [ BoingBoing names a Virgin America plane: "Unicorn Chaser"] ]

Boing Boing Gadgets

Added during the format change on Aug 28 '07, BoingBoing gadgets is a blog about personal and consumer electronics, written by Joel Johnson, a former Gizmodo editor and Dethroner founder; John Brownlee, a fellow Gawker alumnus and founder of Ectoplasmosis; and Rob Beschizza, formerly a writer and blog editor at Wired.

Boing Boing TV

In October 2007, Boing Boing started a new component, "Boing Boing TV", that consists of video segments, produced by its co-editors in conjunction with DECA, the Digital Entertainment Corporation of America. The episodes appear online, as well as on Virgin America flights [Gannes, Liz. (October 5, 2007). [ Boing Boing to Fly on Virgin America] ] .

Violet Blue controversy

Sex blogger Violet Blue has been mentioned, interviewed and once contributed at Boing Boing. On the June 23 2008, Blue posted on her blog, Tiny Nibbles, that all posts related to her had been deleted from Boing Boing, without explanation [ [ Tomorrow Museum » Archive » William Gibson Completely Deleted from BoingBoing Archives ] ] . The LA Times featured an interview with Blue that cast the silence on the part of Boing Boing on the matter as 'inexplicable', causing a controversy as Boing Boing "has often presented itself as a stalwart of cultural openness". [ LA (Jun 30 2008) [ Violet Blue scratches her head over BoingBoing purge] ] A heated debate ensued after a brief statement on the Boing Boing site regarding this action stated; "Violet behaved in a way that made us reconsider whether we wanted to lend her any credibility or associate with her. It's our blog and so we made an editorial decision, like we do every single day". [ [ That Violet Blue thing, Posted By Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator, July 1, 2008 8:48 AM] ] In commentary attached to that blog entry, "many commenters surmised that they had something to do with Blue's suing to stop a porn star from also using the name Violet Blue," and many commenters found the removal troubling, but Xeni Jardin said that she hoped she would not have to make the reasons public. [ [,0,4360232.column "Blog hits nerve in excising some old posts", Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune, fetched 8 July 2008] ]

Notes and references

Referenced in: Eggers, D. "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius"

External links

* [ Boing Boing website]
* [ BoingBoing Gadgets ]
* [ A collection of deleted posts mentioning Violet Blue]

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